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J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 26;31(43):15604-17. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4439-11.2011.

FGF signaling expands embryonic cortical surface area by regulating Notch-dependent neurogenesis.

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Yale Child Study Center, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


The processes regulating cortical surface area expansion during development and evolution are unknown. We show that loss of function of all fibroblast growth factor receptors (FgfRs) expressed at the earliest stages of cortical development causes severe deficits in surface area growth by embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5) in the mouse. In FgfR mutants, accelerated production of neurons led to severe loss of radial progenitors and premature termination of neurogenesis. Nevertheless, these mutants showed remarkably little change in cortical layer structure. Birth-dating experiments indicated that a greater proportion of layer fates was generated during early neurogenic stages, revealing that FgfR activity normally slows the temporal progression of cortical layer fates. Electroporation of a dominant-negative FgfR at E11.5 increased cortical neurogenesis in normal mice--an effect that was blocked by simultaneous activation of the Notch pathway. Together with changes in the expression of Notch pathway genes in FgfR mutant embryos, these findings indicate that Notch lies downstream of FgfR signaling in the same pathway regulating cortical neurogenesis and begin to establish a mechanism for regulating cortical surface expansion.

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